With spring on the horizon, the housing market is set to enter one of the most buoyant parts of the year. The Fine & Country agents have seen a mixed start to 2016, but are optimistic to see a surge in market activity soon. Read on to find out how the market is shaping up in different parts of the UK.
The market in Ilfracombe has been extremely busy since Christmas with plenty of ready, willing and able buyers and plenty of sales being achieved. We have seen an increase of almost 50% in the number of sales agreed between this financial year and the last.
New instructions for the first two months of the year were in short supply but we have seen more properties coming to the market since March. A lot of these new properties are selling very quickly with buyers ready and able to snap up the best properties.
We have always had a good number of local buyers but also significant numbers moving in to the area for lifestyle change or second home use. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the UK and have fantastic beaches and coastline as well as the Exmoor National Park.
The Liverpool market remains as buoyant as ever. Ongoing investment and development means there is a harmonious combination of both period and modern properties available on the open market. With many excellent state and independent schools throughout the area, Liverpool, Formby and Southport remain a popular choice for families. Excellent transport links to London and Manchester also make Liverpool an attractive choice for commuters. Spring his brought an increasing demand for viewings. Evenings are much lighter, and so we are seeing a lot of buyers eager to view properties after they finish work.
The property market has sprung into life in the Doncaster and North Nottinghamshire region in 2016 with sales agreed growing from month to month. We find that prices are holding firm due to a lack of supply across the region.
We are also seeing an influx of buyers from the South; many are re-locating for business but need to be in commutable distance to London. The train from Retford to Kings Cross St. Pancras can take as little as 1 hour 24 minutes. New motorway links around Doncaster offer speedy access to the A1 and M18, and Robin Hood Airport offers flights to over 40 destinations around the globe. There is no questioning the pull towards the region as a commuter location. But there is also a growing sense of romanticism with the area with the idea of escaping the big smoke and settling down in the countryside close to areas of outstanding natural beauty.
As one of the happiest places in the UK and with spectacular countryside, Mid Wales has long been a magnet for anyone looking to escape more frenetic parts of the UK.
The biggest issue that we have is availability of stock. Traditionally, sellers wait until spring before marketing their property, but the numbers actually coming to market are currently low. We have low supply and high demand, which could result in some short term upward pressure on prices.
Work has recently begun on the long-awaited Newtown bypass which is set to revolutionise the infrastructure in Mid Wales. For decades, access to beautiful Mid Wales has been hampered by traffic congestion, with vehicles bottle necking in and around Newtown. The bypass is will alleviate this problem and make access to the whole of Powys much easier. The effects of this will boost the local and regional economy considerably.
Our current sales divide equally between local buyers trading up to larger properties, and out of area purchasers from inside the M25. They are attracted to our area by value for money, excellent local grammar schools and the commuting possibilities, with Grantham to Kings Cross in only 65 minutes. Lincolnshire is a very large county but this south western quarter is really very accessible and an ideal environment in which to bring up a family.
We’ve had a very lively market in 2016 so far, much of it driven by the government announcing an increase in Stamp Duty for second homes. It is usual for at least one transaction in a typical chain to be affected by this so many buyers were focused on completing before the end of March.
The market in Brighton and Hove continues to be strong. Great transport links both by rail and road make it a simple commute to London, and Gatwick airport is also extremely convenient. The city centre is historic Regency and Victorian, the beach, shops bars and restaurants, theatres and music scene gives lifestyle and culture to all ages. It’s particularly popular with young families thanks to the excellent state and public schools. I moved here from London just after my twins were born and they are now 14 and thriving.
More developments are springing up across the city, from upmarket blocks with concierges and penthouses to detached luxury new builds with all manner of eco friendly details. Properties with views continue to be high on the wish list of many, whether it’s far reaching cityscape, the serenity of the South Downs or the ever desirable sea view.
In Pembrokeshire we see the same changes year on year as we are a popular holiday home destination. I find that buyers are more likely to want to buy a second home during the summer months, so the market usually picks up with the start of spring. The market is moving quite well with homes worth under £600,000 at the moment and I expect the upper market will improve later in the year. We saw a few buyers looking to complete before the stamp duty deadline, but not a huge number.
A lot of people enjoy holidaying here, and people often move here to enjoy a holiday lifestyle or to retire. For those moving from a big city, they can get a lot more for their money here as well as a lifestyle where they can keep chickens, go for country walks, and visit the beach.
8. Simon Bradbury, Director at Fine & Country St Neots
The area in and around St. Ives in Cambridgeshire offers, in my opinion, one of the very best investment opportunities throughout the UK during 2016. Less than 20 miles from the house price hotbed that is the city of Cambridge (now even more easily accessible via the incredible and renowned Guided Busway), St. Ives is also about 20 minutes or so from the mainline stations of St Neots and Huntingdon which offer direct rail links to London in less than an hour.
The charm and peacefulness of village life, combined with the convenience of easy access to the cities of Cambridge and London, make St.Ives a perfect investment opportunity. I expect the villages of Hemingford’s, Houghton, and Hilton to be particularly popular in the coming year.
The property market in the Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire is attractive to a lot of buyers, primarily due to the rail and road links to London. It’s a commutable area, but retains reasonable property prices when compared North Norfolk, Cambridge and Stamford.
Half a million pounds can buy a character house with some land in a rural location, so lifestyle is affordable. The compromise is that it is outside the Cotswolds. The Fens may not be right for everyone, but it has a certainly has charms and very pleasant in the summer.
Westward Ho! in North Devon is a coastal village with two miles of sandy beach. It has seen the value of many of the recently built waterside flats rise noticeably. There is a lot of investment already happening there, with more new apartments being built for second homes which will be ideal for holiday rental.